Johnny Manziel is the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns when they play against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The NFL reports that Johnny Football gets his first NFL start for the final weeks of the AFC playoff race.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Browns coach Mike Pettine met with the quarterbacks on Monday. At a Monday press conference, the head coach did not commit to having Manziel as the team’s starting quarterback. Nonetheless, it appeared to everyone that the Browns’ were leaning toward Manziel after another bumpy performance by starter Brian Hoyer.
The Browns preferred to give Manziel time to develop and have Hoyer continue as the starting quarterback. However, Hoyer only helped the team score one touchdown in 29 drives. Browns coach Mike Pettine had no choice but to make Manziel the starting quarterback, given how bad Hoyer played against the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday.
The Cleveland Browns fans were so upset at Hoyer they booed him and did the Johnny Manziel money sign after each miserable offensive play at Sunday’s game at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. Hoyer was 14-for-31, completed 140 passing yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. In the last four games, Hoyer has only thrown one touchdown pass. He also threw eight interceptions resulting in three game losses.
Manziel relieved Hoyer and boosted the offensive efforts against the Buffalo Bills week 13. The team lost the game 10-26. Johnny does have arm strength and superior speed in comparison to Hoyer. On the other hand, Hoyer has been struggling with accuracy and composure for a few weeks.
It’s unclear how Manziel will perform as starting quarterback. There are reports that question his readiness to take over an NFL offense. Manziel faces a tough matchup this Sunday against the division leader Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals defense has allowed only 14 passing touchdowns this season.
The Browns are expected to focus on the ground game, which they have done for the most part all year. Currently the Browns rank 21st in passing attempts in the NFL and fourth in total carries.
There’s some speculation that Manziel lost his shot at starting quarterback last Sunday because he was seen at a Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game on Tuesday night. It’s believed that the Browns’ coaching staff thought Manziel should have been home studying his playbook.
Nonetheless, Manziel is officially the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns against the Bengals at 1:00 p.m. this Sunday. This will be a home game for Johnny Manziel, which could be advantageous for him and the Browns. They will have the home crowd support, including the extremely zealous Dawg Pound fan base.
[Photo courtesy of L.A. Times]